January 4, 2018: IRES Faculty Seminar
Speaker: Jocelyn Stacey
(First Seminar for Term 2)

IRES Seminar Series

Time: 12:30pm to 1:30pm (every Thursday)

Location: AERL Theatre (room 120), 2202 Main Mall


The Rule of (Environmental) Law



Environmental issues strain a central concept of western legal systems: the rule of law. The rule of law is traditionally characterized as a system of predictable, general rules enacted by the legislature. Environmental issues are complex and some contain the possibility of catastrophe. The epistemic features of environmental issues undermine our ability to govern environmental issues through predetermined legal rules. Relying on examples of the National Energy Board and Gitxaala Nation v Canada (the Northern Gateway pipeline decision), I argue that understanding the rule of law from an environmental perspective focuses our attention on legal principles, rather than rules. I argue that the rule of (environmental) law requires decision-makers to justify their decisions on the basis of deep-seated common law principles that account for our ever-present vulnerability to environmental harm.

This seminar will not be filmed.



Jocelyn Stacey is an Assistant Professor at the Peter A. Allard School of Law, University of British Columbia. Her research focuses on Canadian environmental and administrative law. She has a doctorate in law from McGill University. Her dissertation, “The Constitution of the Environmental Emergency,” was nominated for the Governor General’s Gold Medal. She has a LLM from Yale Law School and an LLB from the University of Calgary. Professor Stacey has been the recipient of numerous academic awards including a SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship for her doctoral work. Prior to graduate work, Jocelyn clerked for the Honorable Justice Marshall Rothstein at the Supreme Court of Canada.

Professor Stacey’s research focuses on the relationship between the rule of law and environmental issues. Her current work explores the potential implications of understanding environmental issues from the perspective of an ongoing emergency. A profile of her current work can be found on the Research Portal. She is a founding Board Member of the Pacific Centre for Environmental Law and Litigation, a non-profit society dedicated to training law students and young lawyers in public interest environmental law litigation.


Photo Credit: Isaac Kohane from flikr/ Creative Commons